The Cleveland Cavaliers have 16 players with guaranteed contracts in training camp.
They can only carry 15 into the season, which means someone is going to get paid not to play.
First off, backup point guard Kay Felder, who is on a partially guaranteed contract, almost certainly will be let go. Then it gets to the guaranteed contracts on the wing, and the Cavs have LeBron James, Jeff Green, Dwyane Wade, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Iman Shumpert, and Cedi Osman. That’s a lot of depth. Even though the Cavaliers turned to Jefferson during the NBA Finals last season for regular rotation minutes, that was really about the need for wing defenders, which he still did better than most on the roster. This season there is that depth.
What the Cavaliers would prefer to do is trade Jefferson because it saves them money — he is on a $2.5 million contract but with the repeater luxury tax hit he costs them $10.5 million. Trade him and all those costs go away, but the Cavaliers will struggle to find anyone interested in the 37-year-old unless they attach a sweetener (a likely second-round pick).
Either way, it looks like Jefferson’s run in Cleveland is done.